(17 February 1989)
Since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, a new picture of flourishing and prosperity has emerged in our country’s literature and art undertakings. Following the vigorous development of Socialist modernization construction and the incessant deepening of reform and opening up, literature and art undertakings are facing new circumstances and tasks. Earnestly implementing the basic Party line in the primary stage of Socialism, summarizing the historical experiences since founding the country and especially in the decade of the new period, reforming and strengthening Party leadership over literature and art undertakings, and persisting in principles and policies for the long-term and stable development of literature and art, has an important meaning for consolidating and developing stability and unity, a democratic and harmonious political picture, stimulating the Socialist material civilization and spiritual civilization construction as well as the further flourishing Socialist literature and art.
I, Correctly appraising the present circumstances of literature and art
(1) Since ten years, major historical changes have occurred our country’s literature and art. This sort of changes mainly are: the broad literature and art workers have shaken off the shackles of “leftism” from “taking class struggle as the key link” for a long time after the basic completion of the Socialist revolution, and have broken through a narrow understanding of the funding of literature and art, ideology has obtained a great liberation, creation has obtained large freedoms, spiritual outlooks have taken on an entirely new look. Literature and art works not only increase in unprecedented quantities, but also have made clear progress in reflecting the breadth and depth of social life, an have made important contributions in stimulating ideological liberation, encouraging the people to throw themselves into Socialist modernization construction, persist in the Four Cardinal Principles and reform and opening up, and enriching the spiritual and cultural life aspects of the popular masses. At the same time as carrying forward the fine traditions of the nation’s culture, many literature and art works have vigorously attracted beneficial culture from outside, there have been new breakthroughs at the artistic level, and in content, themes, forms and styles, a diversified and flourishing picture has emerged. Literature and art commenting and literature and art theory is becoming gradually more vivid, literature and art ideology concepts have been renewed and developed. Mass-type cultural life activities develop more prosperously, broadly and flourishingly every day. New literature and art practices have created new literature and art talents, a batch of excellent young literature and art talents have come to the fore, giving vitality and life to literary circles and artistic circles, a line of Socialist literature and art teams welcomed by the popular masses and composed by older, middle-aged and younger members is being progressively developed and expanded. It ma be said that, these ten years are the period in which literature and art battle lines and ideologies were dynamic, achievements substantial and talents came forth in large numbers.
(2) The good situation at the cultural battle line, comes from the deep implementation of the Party line since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, comes from the Party bringing order out of chaos at the literature and art battle line in the last ten years and the major adjustment of literature and art principles and policies, and comes from the creative labour of the broad cultural workers. After the decade of chaos ended, the Party organized a reversal of unjust and false verdicts of a large batch of cultural workers, and rehabilitated the reputation of a large batch of excellent literature and art works that had been denounces; according to changes in the objective situation, we no longer raise the slogan the “literature and art serve politics”, and make “serving the people and serving Socialism” into literature and art work; we reiterate persistence in the principle of “letting a hundred flowers bloom, and a hundred schools contend”, and formulated a series of policies aimed at liberating literature and art productive forces; at the same time, the Party conducted appropriate criticism and persuasion concerning some negative phenomena appearing in the literature and art world. The Party’s guidance of the transformation in ideological and leadership methods, has aroused the vigour and creativity of the broad literature and art workers, and has created a beneficial environment and atmosphere for them to engage in literature and art free from anxiety.
(3) At present, the main problems still existing in literature and art work are: literature and art leading work and literature and art structures are not very well adapted to the requirement of the new circumstances, under the circumstances of the Socialist commodity economy, economic policies related to cultural work are insufficiently compete; remarkable literature and art works deeply reflecting social transformation and the spirit of the times are insufficient in number, and a number of works have appeared that are negative, vulgar, make people’s mind lax, and have a harmful influence of society; scientific literature and art criticism that seeks truth from facts has not been launched regularly and dynamically; some comrades in literature and art teams lac an understanding of the historical culture of the motherland, and lack a spirit of hard work and study concerning essential specialist skills; some comrades lack a sense of social responsibility, and the situation of being removed from life and reality exists in different degrees. Because of this, further liberating thoughts, strengthening a mentality of construction, enhancing unity, letting creation flourish, and strengthening theoretical research, have become issues that are urgently awaiting resolution in literature and art work under new circumstances.
(4)In the process of reform and opening up and developing the Socialist commodity economy, social phenomena are intricate and complex, very large changes have taken place in people’s ideologies, concepts and enjoyment habits, this cannot but be reflected in their understanding of literature and art problems. Because of this, we must put objective and dialectical analysis into the process of development concerning the situation of the literature and art battle line, and we can absolutely not simplify this. We must both prevent only looking at the bright side, and not squarely facing these problems that must be resolved; and prevent that when flaws are popping up, we use old concepts and old methods to observe and resolve new problems.
II, Persisting in the orientation of the “Two Fors”, persisting in the principle of “Double Hundred”
(1) Persisting in the orientation of literature and art “serving the people and serving socialism”, persisting in the policy of “letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools contend” is the basic guarantee for a long-time and stable development of our country’s Socialist literature and art undertaking.
The Socialist literature and art undertakings are an important component part of Socialist spiritual civilization construction. We must inspire the spirit of the nation, raise the quality of the popular masses, enlighten people’s wisdom, beautify people’s souls, incessantly satisfy the broad masses’ diversified and multi-level culture life requirements, influence, infect, educate and hearten the people, and stimulate social progress through fully giving rein to the many functions of literature and art. Our literature and art must raise high the banner of patriotism and Socialism, carry forward Socialist humanitarianism and struggle untiringly to realize the Four Modernizations and revitalize China. We must advocate all excellent works benefiting to Socialist modernization construction and complete reform, advocate all excellent works benefiting setting people to make the country strong, pioneer and innovate, and vigorously forge ahead, advocate all works benefiting to moulding people’s morals and personalities, this shall become the main melody of our country’s literature and art. We must earnestly extol revolution and construction, and all beautiful things, and must castigate evil and degenerate things, the objective and fundamental key should be to raise the nation’s self-confidence, strengthen the nation’s cohesion, stimulate the development of Socialist construction and reform. As long as it does not violate the Constitution, the laws and relevant State regulations, all works that are harmless ideologically, desirable artistically and that can give people an appreciation of art and entertainment are permitted to exist.
Our literature and art workers must inherit and carry forward the fine traditions of our country’s revolutionary literature and art, correctly present the relationship of individuals with the country and society, put social and the people’s interest first, conform to historical development rules, understand their sacred mission in Socialist spiritual civilization construction, fully give rein to their creative talent, and make due contributions to helping the people and especially youth, become a generation of new people with ideals, with morals, with culture and with discipline.
(2) Literature and art creation is considered as a sort of special spiritual labour, and must especially give free rein the creative spirit of individuals. We must further create a stable and united, democratic and harmonious social environment that lets literature and art workers be able to concentrate on creation. Literature and art creators shall enjoy full freedom in what to write and how to write it. We must realistically guarantee creative freedom and freedom of comment, encourage creation, advocate different styles and schools of thought and learning to compete freely, and advocate criticism and countercriticism through science and seeking truths from fact. Problems in literature and art creation shall be discussed, researched and explored by literature and art creators themselves, and progressively resolved in literature and art practice, Party organizations and government organs may not flagrantly interfere.
Creative freedom has been our Party’s correct standpoint for many years, it has been protected and constrained in the Constitution and laws. We both cannot let creative freedom become bourgeois liberalization, or deny and cancel it when we see that a few problems emerge in creation, and cannot understand it understand it as an abolition of literature and art’s social meaning and social responsibility.
(3) Literature and art basically is a social and cultural phenomenon. Literature and art is not equal to politics, and it cannot be required that literature and art is subordinate to politics, it can even less be required that literature and art belongs to contemporary, concrete and direct political tasks. But, literature and art can also not be removed from politics. We should consider that, a number of literature and art works has a very large function in influencing people’s ideology and politics, but we may also not exaggerate this function.
(4) We must correctly understand and deal with the relationship between carrying forward the cultural traditions of the nation and attracting culture from outside. Developing Socialist literature and art must protect and inherit the excellent cultural heritage of all ethnicities in the entire country, and must also learn from excellent cultural achievements from abroad. Concerning our country’s traditional culture, we cannot adopt a despising or denying attitude, and must persist in the principle of critical inheritance, absorb what is best, and abandon its dregs; concerning foreign culture, we must persist in implementing the policy of opening up, and attract all beneficial things, and abandon all evil and degenerate things. We must overcome and resist the influence of feudalist and capitalist degenerate ideologies and morals. We must, on the basis of inheriting the good cultural traditions of the Chinese nation, select and attract excellent culture from all countries in the world, create and produce a new brilliant and dazzling culture for the Chinese nation having the spirit of the times.
(5) Socialist literature and art is the continuity of the political orientation and the unification of content, form, style, and diversity in schools. Our literature and art creators shall be together in the basic orientation of “serving the people and serving Socialism”, and shall be consistent in the basic tasks of constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristics and safeguarding the unity of the motherland. We must completely and correctly understand the relationship between the “Two Fors” and the “Double Hundred”, departing from the “Two Fors” and the “Double Hundred” is to lose the orientation; departing from the “Two Fors” and the “Double Hundred” cannot be brought about. Both are unified, cannot be departed from, and they should not be considered as mutually opposed and mutually exclusive.
III, Striving to reform and strengthen Party leadership over literature and art undertakings
(1) The Party leadership over literature and art undertakings is a leadership of political principles and political orientation. This mainly refers to formulating and adjusting literature and art principles and policies, doing ideological and political work, and guaranteeing that literature and art develops along the correct development orientation; launching work through Party organizations’ guarantee and supervision functions and Party members’ vanguard model function; on the basis of the standard of having both ability and integrity, recommending important cadre candidates to literature and art departments, and strengthening leadership rank constructions. The Party cannot substitute the function of government organs in literature and art management, and can also not run the whole show of mass literature and art troupe activities. If the Party’s leadership organs depart from the above principles, and manage other aspects of literature and art undertakings too much or to concretely, it may limit the creativity of literature and art troupes and literature and art creators, and cause themselves to get bogged down in concrete matters, influencing the correct political orientation, and does not benefit giving rein to an adjusting and guiding function to the literature and art world.
(2) The Party’s leadership organs must fully respect the characteristics and rules of literature and art, and must intervene less and interfere less in concrete literature and art work and academy questions. Literature and art work quality, shall be determined by the broad readers, audiences and the literature and art world themselves, and must be examined by history. There are some literature and art questions of which the right and wrong is difficult to distinguish for the time being, these shall be permitted to be discussed unhurriedly, and we must not be anxious to bring answers, some also do not needs to be concluded uniformly. Apart from violations of the Constitution and laws, which must be prohibited, normal academic and artistic questions cannot be resolved using the method of administrative decrees, and only democratic and fair discussion can be discussed. We must advocate correct and good things through vigorous and healthy commentary, criticize and oppose incorrect and bad things, promote the development of academia and art. In literature and art and academic discussion, we must implement the principle of equal opportunities in argument and competition between all sides; newspapers and periodicals that are the battlefield of comment cannot only publish the views that they enjoy, and refuse to publish different kinds of views, and especially must prevent to let unhealthy ideologies and emotions to monopolize the comment battlefield. Concerning literature and art creators and works, we must persist in concrete analysis of concrete questions, and must no take a part for the whole, affirm everything or deny everything. We must prevent that widespread administrative measures are adopted towards toe overall literature and art world or a certain literature and art department because of errors a few works or a few people.
(3) Leadership must correctly implement the Party line, principles and policies, strive to explore and research methods and ways to lead literature and art work well under new historical conditions. We must respect, understand and care for the broad literature and art workers, strengthen exchange and dialogue with them, and make the literature and art world understand the efforts of our Party in realizing the Four Modernizations and revitalizing China, the work it is now conducting, the problems it faces and the methods for resolution, and at the same time, also listen to the opinions of literature and art workers. Where leaders acting as readers or audiences and expressing their individual opinions concerning literature and art works, literature and art workers may not consider them as decrees that must be implemented.
In order to make our country’s literature and art undertakings gain long-term and stable development, we must safeguard all rights and interest that the Constitution and laws grant to literature and art creators and literature and art troupes, further establish and perfect all laws and regulations in the literature and art sphere. All works that must be prohibited because they are unlawful, are to be dealt with by judicial organs or government and other authorized departments according to laws or relevant regulations.
IV, Strengthening and deepening cultural structural reform
(1) The objectives of literature and art structural reform are to further develop literature and art productive forces, let Socialist literature and art flourish, satisfy our country’s people’s daily increasing cultural life needs. In recent years, the structural reform of the literature and art system has obtained a number of achievements in aspects such as rationalizing relations, transforming functions, adjusting structures, improving management, etc., but the steps are not large. The situation that relationships are not smooth, efficiency is not high, management structures are overly concentrated has not fundamentally changed, and reform must be accelerated.
(2) Literature and art structural reform first and foremost must rationalize the relationship between the Party, government and mass literature and art troupes, and clarify the functions of each. The Party must implement political leadership, and strengthen macro-level guidance over literature and art. Government mainly is to conduct guidance, planning, coordination, service, supervision and management over literature and art undertakings through legal, administrative, economic and other methods. The main function of cultural federations is to be responsible for liaising with all troupes and members, coordinate and serve them, associations, apart from the abovementioned functions, are also responsible for the duties of doing comment work well, associating periodicals well, and guaranteeing the members’ proper rights and interests. Cultural federations and associations shall closely relate to the masses, improve mechanisms, become genuine mass groups representing literature and art creators, and become channels and bridges for consultation and dialogue between the Party, the government, and all walks of society as well as literature and art creators.
(3) Concerning literature and art management structures, we must expand the decision power of all literature and art undertaking work units, bring in competitive mechanisms, stimulate talent circulation, and muster the vigour and creativity of literature and art workers by strengthening literature and art undertaking work units’ vitality and life. Literature and art management system reform is a systemic project, and we must research and formulate complementing reform measures. We must vigorously but cautiously practice a “two-track system” in art performance troupes; State-operate art performance troupes must become fewer but better, art performance troupes representing national and local artistic levels or having characteristic values preserving history, are to be organized by government cultural controlling departments; non-State operated art performance troupes are composed of artists themselves, and implement collective ownership or individual ownership, independent operations and independent accounting, and assume sole responsibility for profit and loss. The State puts forward different requirements, and formulates different management methods concerning art performance troupes in different ownership systems, we must both prevent that new phenomena of eating from the “large cauldron” and extreme “iron rice bowls” emerge again in State-operated art performance troupes, and we must also ensure that non-State operated art performance troupes obtain due support.
(4) Establishing and perfecting Socialist culture market, correctly guiding mass cultural consumption. At present, one a cultural market providing spiritual products and cultural entertainment services to the people is being formed in our country. Governments implement macro-level management and indirect leadership over the cultural market, utilize market mechanisms to organize and guide the masses’ cultural consumption, which is one of the methods to raise the quality of spiritual products and service quality. Our literature and art work must put social effect in the highest position. We must strive to raise the quality of spiritual products, improve business management, raise economic efficiency, and integrate social effect with economic effects well.
(5) Formulating and perfecting all economic policies in aspects of literature and art undertakings. Spiritual product production is different from material product production, the State must grant benefits to literature and art undertakings in taxation, and appropriately loosen up pricing policies. We must encourage and support excellent spiritual product production, limit the production of inferior spiritual products, guide the healthy development of literature and art products. The state must grant even more support and assistance to old, minority, order and poor regions, where literature and art undertakings are relatively backwards.
V, Strengthening the self-construction of literature and art teams
(1) The flourishing of Socialist literature and art undertakings, requires our literature and art workers to strive to raise their ideological quality and professional quality, We must advocate literature and art creators to earnestly study Marxism, study the Party line, principles and policies since the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress, study literature and art theory and scientific cultural knowledge, go into the practice of reform and construction, incessantly raise their ideological level and creative levels. Life is the source of literature and art creation, the great practice of constructing Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fertile soil for literature and art creation, linking with the popular masses’ flesh and blood is where the artistic life of all progressive literature and art workers is found. Closely linking with social life and practice and the popular masses, is the basis for the flourishing development of Socialist literature and art undertakings. Literature and art creation removed from the times and removed from the popular masses has no future. The Party and government must adopt realistic measures to resolve real problems met by literature and art workers going deeply into life.
(2) Strengthening literature and art team unity is an important question in construction Socialist literature and art undertakings. Since more than half a century, revolutionary literature and art movements under Party leadership have obtained different achievements at different times; one batch after another of literature and art workers has made outstanding contributions to revolutionary literature and art undertakings through undergoing severe tests. Today, the great objective of realizing the four modernizations and revitalizing China, and the huge task of letting Socialist literature and art undertakings flourish, requires literature and art workers to unite even more closely, carry forward fine revolutionary traditions, seek for the great harmony, preserve small differences, eliminate all difficulties and interferences, and strive for new victories.
It is hard to avoid that under the circumstances of violent social transformation, a number of ideological divergences and confusions have emerged in literature and art teams. This is a problem for the future but should not be feared. Comrades in the literature and art world must make uniting understanding into one centre and two basic points in the process of deeply studying the Party’s basic line in the primary stage of Socialism and in the practice of life and creation, and concentrate their mental powers on pushing out works and talents. The final achievements of literature and art teams’ unity and self-construction must be reflected in providing even more excellent spiritual products to the people.
Our slogan is still: liberating thoughts and seeking truth from facts, uniting as one and looking ahead. People tenaciously defending fossilized viewpoints and people denying Marxism are very few in number. We must not say that ideology not being able to catch up with the pace of reform for the time being is fossilization, we may also not say that a few excessive words means bourgeois liberalization.
Communist Party members among literature and art workers shall have a model and pioneering function in stimulating literature and art team unity and letting literature and art flourishing. They shall become models of implementing the Party line, principles and policies, be models of vigorously forging ahead, and exerting themselves in works, and models of sincerely dealing with people and uniting comrades. Especially leading comrades and old comrades in the literature and art world, must even more set examples and establish models for the youth.
We must unite all patriotic literature and art creators that support Socialism, unite all literature and art creators that safeguard the unity of the motherland, protect literature and art creators who are Taiwan compatriots, Hong Kong and Macau compatriots and overseas compatriots, to contribute to the great cause of unifying the motherland and further letting literature and art further flourish.
(3) Our country is in a great time of deep reform and marching towards the revitalization of the nation. Our literature and art workers must deeply understand that they bear a historical responsibility, strengthen their sense of destiny and sense of responsibility, cherish today’s beneficial conditions that are hard-earned, vigorously throw themselves into letting literature and art undertakings flourish, and jointly climb towards a peak of Socialist literature and art.